Nicholas Oulton's picture
Affiliation: 
London School of Economics
Credentials: 
Senior Visiting Research Fellow

Voting history

Bitcoin and the City

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Question 2: Do you agree that the regulatory oversight of cryptocurrencies needs to be increased?

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Answer:
Strongly agree
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
In practice crypto currenices have been strongly linked to criminality as the Mt Gox affair shows. A parallel is the Albanian Ponzi schemes of the 1990s which seriously destabilised Albania. One strand of current policy is to crack down on money laundering and tax evasion through tax havens. So it would seem odd to let crypto currencies get around these restrictions. It would be a good idea if the "crypto" were taken out of crypto currencies. But then they might not be very attractive to investors and promoters.

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Question 1: Do you agree that cryptocurrencies are currently a threat to the stability of the financial system, or can be expected to become a threat in the next couple of years?

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Answer:
Disagree
Confidence level:
Not confident
Comment:
They are not currently a threat but they could become one if left unregulated.

Juncker's State of the Union Address

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Question 2: Do you agree that the euro has had more benefits than costs?

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Answer:
Strongly disagree
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
It is well known that those who pushed for the creation of the euro were well aware of its flaws. But they hoped to use it as a lever to create a deeper political and economic unit, a United States of Europe in fact. The euro was severely tested by the global financial crisis and found wanting. So far the push for fiscal as well as monetary union has met with adamanine resistance from the one country whose agreement is necessary, Germany. I don't expect this to change in the foreseeable future. Meanwhile we will probably continue to see the rise of political forces which are fundamentally hostile not just to the euro but to capitalism as well.

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Question 1; Do you agree that euro membership should be compulsory for all EU member states?

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Answer:
Strongly disagree
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
The euro has been disastrous for Europe so trying to make it compulsory for all member states will only make matters worse. Making it compulsory means amongst other things setting aside the Danish optout (which could perhaps be done when the Danes produced the right answer after a sufficient number of referendums). However if I believed that it would be good for Britain if the EU broke up then I would be inclined to answer the opposite: make it compulsory.

Wages and economic recoveries

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Question 2: Do you agree that the different behaviour of UK real wages relative to Eurozone wages during the Great Recession is in large part due to the UK having different labour market policies?

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Answer:
Agree
Confidence level:
Very confident
Comment:
If the comparison is with the Eurozone, then different labour market policies must be part of the answer. But there is also a contrast with the US to explain. In the latter participation has continued to fall even though the unemployment rate has followed a similar path to the UK's. The UK and the US are usually classified as having flexible labour markets but the labour market response to a similar-size shock has been different. Part of the explanation for the differences with both the Eurozone and the US is the depreciation of sterling which followed the shock and which allowed a relatively painless fall in real wages (at least this is what an old Keynesian would argue). The Eurozone, like the US, is a much more closed economy than the UK so a helpful exchange rate response was much less likely.

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